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Rae from Made by Rae and our Sew,Mama,Sew! Editorial Board created this fabulous Crayon Box Quilt tutorial for our Baby Shower celebration. It will be the hit of any baby shower! Rae has a binding tutorial at Made by Rae to help you complete your Crayon Box Quilt too, so be sure to check it out. Rae will also be back next week with another fun baby-related tutorial too. We’re so lucky!

From Rae: I had always thought it would take forever to cut out all of the pieces for a quilt with lots of triangles. But the secret to this one is that you start with just squares! You’ll be amazed at how simple and quick this is and it makes a great gift for a new baby. I made this one for baby girl after she was born last year using the same technique. When she was really small I used it as a play blanket, and now that she’s over a year old she sleeps with it in her crib. The bold solid colors in this version remind me of a box of crayons, but you can also use near-solids or designer prints like I did on my daughter’s for a more eclectic look.

Materials:

  • 1 yard of white quilting cotton for base color
  • 1/4 yard of solid broadcloth in six different colors
  • 1 1/4 yard solid or near solid quilting cotton for back of quilt
  • 1 square yard of cotton or bamboo batting (a little extra is helpful though, so you might want to cut a 42” square)

Other things to have on hand that are helpful:

  • rotary cutter with self-healing mat
  • fabric marking pen with disappearing ink
  • safety pins or spray starch

Sewing Instructions:
Make a 7″ square template out of a piece of cardboard. Fold part of the quarter yard solids into thirds and place the template on top. Using a rotary cutter, cut through all three layers at once to make three 7″ squares.

Repeat for the other five solid colors. You will have 18 colored squares when you are finished (three of each color).

Using the same template, cut 18 white squares. When you are finished you should have 36 squares total (18 solid color, 18 white).

Match each colored square to a white square with right sides facing.

Take a fabric marking pen and make a line on each square going diagonally from one corner to the other as shown.

Sew each pair of matched squares together by stitching on either side of the center line with a 1/4” seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

Cut each square in half down the center line, being careful to leave enough allowance next to each seam (if you get too close to a seam, the fabric can pull apart and fray when you wash the quilt)

Open up and press seams towards colored half of square. As you press, keep the iron pointing parallel to the center seam so that the squares don’t warp.

Repeat for the rest of the squares.

Sidenote: At this point you could put the quilt together as shown below if you like. I like how this looks too and sometimes you just want to be done!

Or you can keep on keep on going to finish the blocks…
Take two matching squares and cut them in half down the center diagonal line:

Swap the right side of one square for the left side of the other and match the two new triangles up right sides together with contrasting fabrics opposite from each other. Repeat with the rest until they are all cut in half, swapped, and re-matched.

Line the center seams up carefully before sewing the two sides together:

Sew each pair together along their long sides with a 1/4” seam. I start with a stack of matched triangles next to my machine and sew them all together in one go without lifting my presser foot or clipping my thread. It makes a big bunting-like string of triangles and goes really quick!

Cut the them apart and press the seam you just sewed open (results in a better looking quilt) or to one side (faster), remembering to keep the iron pointed along the seam to reduce warping on your square.

It is worth your time at this point to evaluate the size and evenness of your squares. I usually trim any squares that are not exactly square or those that are a little bigger than the others. Taking the time to do this will help your quilt top look even and neat.

Next arrange your squares in a pleasing manner in six rows and six columns. For me this means placing them as randomly as I can without like colors touching.

Take the first two squares in the first row and sew them together with 1/4” seam and right sides facing. Repeat until you have a strip of six squares sewn together. I find it helpful to sew from left to right across each row and always place the right square on top of the left so I don’t forget what order they go in.

The ends of these seams always end up with little points on them, and I clip these off (be careful not to clip too close to the seam though).

Then press all of the seams in each strip in the same direction, say to the left.
Repeat with the next row and press all of the seams the other way, say to the right.

By alternating the direction that you press each row, you’ll reduce the bulk at the places where four squares come together. Continue sewing the rows together and pressing in alternating directions until all six rows are complete. Trim the edges of the rows with a rotary cutter to make them as even as possible.

Next you will sew the rows together. Take two rows and place them right sides together. You will probably notice that the individual seams between each square don’t exactly line up across the entire row. That’s OK! I sew one square at a time as I go across the row, matching the seams up with my fingers. This means that I sometimes have to stretch my squares a little to make the seams line up, but it still seems to work fine.

Press the row seams open. Then press entire quilt top on the front and again on the back. Don’t skimp on this step– good pressing pays off! My finished quilt top was about 36” square.

At this point it is time to layer your quilt with the batting and backing, quilt the layers together, and bind off the quilt. Since there are so many different ways to go about doing this, I will just outline the way I did mine below, but I found these links from past Sew Mama Sew quilting archives to be very useful and you may want to take the time to read peruse these, especially if you are a beginner quilter:

I placed the quilt top on top of the batting square and the 1.25 yard of backing cotton and centered it as much as possible. I pinned the layers together with as many pins as I could stand. Then I machine-quilted in the horizontal and vertical seams and added three lines of stitching along the diagonals in one direction.

I like to use my “cheater bind-off” method to finish the quilt. Briefly it consists of trimming my batting to the edge of the quilt top, trimming my cotton backing to 1” all the way around my quilt, and folding it over to make a faux binding for my quilt. I’ve put together a tutorial of this method on my blog if you’d like to see a more detailed explanation.

I am certain this breaks some rules about binding off your quilt and has some of you real quilters spitting out your coffee, but I have found this to be a quick and painless way to bind off my quilts. It certainly doesn’t look as nice as homemade bias tape binding (especially on the back), but it is faster and makes me love quilting more. And that’s worth something, isn’t it?

Comment today for your chance to win…

Today Winter Peach is giving away an Open Toe Knotted Baby Bootie/Vintage Flair pattern (baby-sizes only) and a Mary Jane Flats pattern (baby & mama sizes) combination package to one lucky winner! View prize details here, and comment today for your chance to win!